April 29, 2003

Spam, Spam, Wonderful Spam

It seems like all I've been posting lately is adminstrative garbage. Unfortunately, most of my creativity (yes, I have creativity, thank you) has been diverted to other pursuits, so there hasn't been much left for the blog. I hope that will change in a few weeks.

For now, though, the latest change is that I've gotten a new Hotmail account to use as the contact email for the blog. It didn't really occur to me when I first chose an address that the spammers use random name generators as a way of producing lists of addresses to send spam to. The hfgm-at-hotmail-dot-com got more spam than I've ever seen, likely because it was so short. It got to the point where real messages were getting overlooked because they got buried in all the spam.

I remembered another hotmail address I once had that was much longer (thirteen letters), and which rarely, if ever, got any spam. I thought that if I chose a new, much longer address to use for the blog, I might not get so much spam.

The new address is at the right. Time will tell if my attempt at thwarting the evil spammers is successful.

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April 28, 2003

No, I don't have OCD, why do you ask?

I just spent way too much time mucking around with the template. The color scheme has been bugging me for a while, but I haven't had the motivation to do anything about it. Mainly, I hated the pale green in the title bar, and I also wanted to change it to something, anything else, so that it would look at least a little different from all the other Blogger blogs that used the same template.

Unfortunately, I have an exceedingly small amount of knowledge when it comes to these types of things ("these types of things" being computers, the internet, programming, html, etc.), so I assumed I would never be able to figure out how to change things, and all I would succeed in doing would be to fuck the whole thing up so badly it would kill the blog. I've avoided trying to change anything until today. I would have waited even longer, except that I was using it as an excuse to avoid doing something more pressing in my life.

Once I finally decided to do something, I figured that if I went in and changed the color codes by trial and error, I'd find something I liked fairly easily. Not so.

For some reason I can't figure out, there doesn't seem to be any pattern or correspondence between the color codes and the actual colors they encode. I tried code after code, sometimes attempting to try them in sequence, sometimes doing it randomly, and all I kept getting was an assortment of black, dark blue, and occasionally, variations on chartreuse.

Despite all the time I was wasting, I became obsessed with finding an acceptable color scheme. I did finally settle on what you see here, although I'm still not entirely crazy about it. I'd like to make the title bar a paler shade of blue, but I just don't know how. It's going to have to do for now.

Next project: changing the link color to anything other than that horrid orange. Don't even get me started on the abomination that is the color orange. That's a rant for another day.

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April 27, 2003

One of the unwritten rules (or so it seems) of having a blog is that you must periodically mention the search terms people use that lead them to your blog. Depending on, well, a lot of things, you can get some really bizarre search strings.

Because this blog hasn't been in existence for long (and therefore still has a low amount of content), I haven't gotten a huge number of search-origin hits, and they've all been pretty tame, thankfully. The last thing I want is a bunch of sickos reading my blog.

Mostly, people who land here are looking for things related to celebrities - Mandy Moore's hairstyle, Renee Zellweger's Oscars dress, Russell Wong's daughter - or, more recently, Clairol makeup mirrors. I'm sorry to say I don't have any celebrities' pictures, and I don't sell beauty products, but I hope this site was helpfull nonetheless.

The thing I find most interesting is not that people are looking for these things, since you can always find someone, somewhere, who is looking for something, no matter how strange, or, conversely, how mundane.

What perplexes me is that all the searches that lead to my blog have been through MSN or Yahoo. For the love of god, why, in this day and age of Google, are people still using any other search engine? I have no doubt that there are many people out there looking for makeup mirrors and celebrity photos using Google, but I don't get hits from those people. The reason for this is that Google works so well that you don't get hits to random sites run by non-professionals that really have nothing to do with what you're looking for. Yes, I mean sites like the one you're currently reading. This one.

I only get hits from MSN and Yahoo searches because those search engines don't work very well at filtering out all the irrelevant crap. (What's that, you say, there's irrelevant crap on the internet!? I know, shocking, isn't it?) This site is about as irrelevant as it gets. If you got here by searching for something, I'm pretty sure you won't find it.

If Google cost money, or for some reason it were much more difficult to use, I suppose I could see why people might not want to use it. But seriously, people? It's free! It's really easy to use! If you can use the internet, you can use Google! There is no excuse - none - for using anything else. And no, I don't work for Google. I just appreciate a good product.

Anyway, here's some helpful advice for all you lost souls who have yet to see the light - do yourself a favor and start using Google in the future. You'll thank me for it, even if you never come back to my blog again.

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April 24, 2003

Cool word of the day:

Tantamount

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April 16, 2003

Why should I be surprised?

Yet again, I went and did a search for something after having made some major decision about it. Yes, rather than before. Why do I do this? It's like I'm intentionally trying to aggravate myself or something.

Remember back when I first started this blog, and how I named it Have Fun, Go Mad? And then after I named it, I did a Google search and found out about the line dancing? Yeah, remember that?

Well, I gone done it again. Recently, I gave a heartfelt eulogy for my Clairol True-to-Light makeup mirror, which had died. In its place, out of desperation, I spent obscene amount of money on a new one.

A few days later, I decided to stick "True-to-Light" into my handy-dandy Google toolbar, just for the hell of it. Again, perhaps I should have thought of this before I went to the store, but alas, hindsight is 20/20. Always is, isn't it?

What should come up as the first hit? By golly, it's the Remington True-to-Light deluxe makeup mirror, on sale at your local neighborhood drugstore.com. It's virtually identical to my Clairol True-to-Light. And it costs, no, not $100, but $35. Thirty-five. Are you fucking kidding me? Is this some kind of cruel joke?

I mean, yes, I was desperate for a new mirror. But I think I could have waited a few more days if I knew for sure I'd be getting exactly what I wanted.

Honestly, what is wrong with me? Why do I never think to do informational searches before I make decisions? Why do have such a morbid curiosity to find out just how much I may have screwed myself?

And before you say anything, yes, I suppose I could probably return the expensive one I bought and order the cheaper one. However, the major obstacle is that it takes time that I don't have, and hassle that I simply can't deal with right now.

At least it's a pretty nice mirror. It's not like I paid $100 for the exact same mirror I could have gotten for $35. It's much nicer. Well, maybe much is too strong a word, but it is nicer. Don't you love my extraordinary ability to rationalize?

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April 08, 2003

Unintentionally funny moment of the day:

The local weatherman calling the combination of snow and drizzle "snizzle."

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April 02, 2003

Rest in peace, Clairol True-To-Light

I’ve had the same routine every morning for just about as long as I can remember: I brush my teeth, wash my face, shower, get dressed, and then sit down in front of the makeup mirror. I probably spend a good twenty minutes every morning in front of it plucking, moisturizing, and putting on makeup.

I know what you’re thinking - what does a smart, beautiful, forward-thinking girl need with painting her face? It’s what I often say to myself.

But I can’t help it. I need my makeup. It takes work to be pretty, you know. Don’t get me wrong, though - I’m no Tammy Faye. Makeup for me consists mostly of strategically spotted concealer to cover up the sleep deprivation-induced under-eye circles, a dusting of translucent powder, and, occasionally, lipstick. Without these things, I do not leave the house.

One of the obstacles to the proper application of makeup is the fact that most bathrooms (which are the usual locations of mirrors) do not have good lighting, and the sink gets in the way. These problems are solved by the makeup mirror.

A good makeup mirror is not simply a mirror. It will have a light source that illuminates your face evenly, so you don’t have shadows, and you put it on a table, so that you can get your face right up close to it. Some people also like magnifying mirrors, although they tend to give me a headache, and come on, do I really want my pores to look an inch wide?

For the last ten years, at least (I can’t actually remember when I bought it), my Clairol True-To-Light sat perched on my desk, ready to come to my aid whenever I needed to be beautiful. Every morning, I pressed its little button, and every morning, it would light up without fail.

This morning, I turned it on and then got distracted for a moment. When I turned back, it was off. I thought to myself, that’s strange - I thought I’d turned it on. So I turned it on again, again got distracted, and again turned back to find it off.

The third time, to make sure I wasn’t going insane (always a possibility), I watched it after I pressed the button. The light came on, stayed on for a few seconds, and then sputtered out.

I was stunned. I thought my Clairol True-To-Light would last forever. It’s been through beauty product hell - it’s been dropped on the floor so many times I’ve lost count. It’s been tossed around carelessly as I moved from apartment to apartment. Pieces of its plastic housing were broken off in several places. Through it all, its bulbs have burned strong, never wavering, never flickering, never failing.

No more. My Clairol True-To-Light was dead. I pressed that button over and over again, hoping against hope that it might recover. Please don’t die now. I need you. I can’t live without you. It was like in the movies, when one person keeps pumping the guy’s chest, even though everyone else knows he’s dead, and it’s hopeless. Just like in the movies, the light stayed out.

My heart heavy, I walked slowly to the bathroom and did the only thing I could do. I applied my makeup using the poor lighting. I contorted my body into awkward positions just to get my face close enough to the mirror to see it. It’s a miracle I didn’t come away looking like that lady in Airplane.

On the way home, I stopped at the store. It was hard to do, but I made myself go in. I felt a lot of emotions. I was sad. I was feeling uncertainty - what if bought a new mirror, and I didn’t like it? Would I ever be able to find one as good as my old friend?

Mostly, though, I was annoyed. When the hell did these things get so damn expensive? I paid $20 for my Clairol True-To-Light ten years ago. I was now looking at anywhere from $60 to $120, and the low-end ones were out of the question because they all had incandescent bulbs. Makeup mirrors are perhaps the only context where you actually want fluorescent bulbs, because they don’t heat up as much (very important - you don’t want to sweat while applying makeup), and because they mimic the lovely fluorescent lighting present in most offices (for example, the one where I toil away most of my waking hours).

I had very few options. I didn’t have time to comparison shop. I couldn’t spend another day in the dreaded bathroom. So, I shit you not, I dropped over a hundred dollars on a freakin’ mirror. A mirror! That’s how desperate I was.

At the very least, all that money certainly bought a mirror that itself looks very pretty. The real test will come in the morning, when we’ll see if it can make me look pretty. It has some big shoes to fill. Not that I’m putting any pressure on it or anything.

Rest in peace, Clairol True-To-Light. You will be missed.

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April 01, 2003

Does this mean I'm famous?

I have the same dermatologist as David Letterman. Well, at least he was my dermatologist back in college. I haven't been to him in years (how many will be my little secret), but tonight he appeared on Letterman as the guy who cured Dave's shingles. Kinda cool.

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